Let’s face it, as a salon owner or manager, no-shows and last-minute cancellations are extremely frustrating. On-top of this, did you know that no-show appointments cost the hairdressing industry 1.2 million pounds a year?
So, how can you manage client expectations and avoid these extortionate costs?
No-show policies are a must-have for any salon. If it’s laid out in black and white, clients know exactly what they can expect if they fail to cancel their appointment on time.
Cancellation and No-Show Policy Examples:
It can be difficult to know which policies will best suit your business. So, here are some cancellation and no-show policy examples to help you structure your policies, and ultimately eliminate no-shows!
Have a clear cancellation notice period
When implementing a salon no-show policy, you must always have a clear cancellation policy in place. Cancellation policies are an excellent way to reduce no-shows, as it gives your clients a set amount of time to cancel their appointment, acting as a reminder for them.
The most common way to structure your cancellation policy is to ask your customers to give a certain notice period.
“If you wish to cancel your appointment, you must give at least 24 hours’ notice before your appointment is scheduled to occur.”
Ensure that you have appointment reminders in place
Before you begin penalising your clients for not showing up, ask yourself whether you currently have appointment reminders in place. This could be in the form of an SMS or email.
Let’s face it – we’re all human and missing an appointment is an easy mistake to make. A gentle reminder could be the difference between a successfully completed appointment and a no-show.
So, when should you remind your clients about their appointment? There’s really no need to start sending automated text messages every day, but a reminder 1 week before, and then a follow-up 24 hours before gives your client enough time to plan ahead.
No one has time to manually send reminders to their clients. Luckily, automated texts and emails are just one of Shortcuts’ time-saving features to make your life as a salon owner easier.
Include a lateness policy
Another policy to consider is a lateness policy. When your team is busy with back-to-back appointments, a client who is 15 minutes late might as well be a no-show in many cases.
This is why lateness policies are sometimes just as important as cancellation policies. It ensures that your staff can complete their best work, and also that your other clients are not impacted by someone else arriving late.
A great example of a lateness policy is the following;
“Please arrive on time for your appointment, as failure to do so may result in your appointment being cancelled. Please call us on (phone number) if you know you are going to be over 10 minutes late so we can advise you on whether to attend your appointment.”
Implement booking fees or deposits
What kind of salon no-show policies can you start implementing to increase appointment attendance, and therefore reduce your losses?
Firstly, you can apply a booking fee or deposit to the booking process. This fee would then be taken off of the client’s total bill once they have finished their appointment.
An advantage of utilising this no-show policy is that in the instance of a client not showing up, they will not be refunded their deposit. Therefore, this reduces the loss you would have made.
Additionally, it will also eliminate time wasters before they even book! If a client is not willing to pay a percentage of their appointment fee upfront, then you must question if they would have been a reliable client.
An example of a deposit policy is:
“When booking an appointment, we require a 10% deposit of your total appointment cost. This will be taken off of your bill when you attend your appointment. If you do not cancel your appointment within (time), this deposit is non-refundable.”
Start a strike policy
If the deposit policy isn’t your style, then perhaps try this next no-show policy instead. The strike policy will help you flag clients who repeatedly fail to attend their appointment.
When a client does not show up to their appointment without cancelling beforehand, they gain one strike. When they reach a certain strike limit, you can implement a consequence.
“If you fail to attend your appointment without cancelling at least 24 hours beforehand, you will gain 1 strike. If you get 3 strikes within 1 year, you will be unable to book with us for 6 months.”
This will make your loyal clients warier about their attendance, and therefore act as a reminder to cancel their appointments on time. However, since this is based on a strike limit, you could risk making a loss up to 3 times before the client is prohibited from booking again.
Charge for missed appointments before re-booking
This next salon no-show policy could be used alone or on top of your strike policy. If a client misses their appointment, if they want to re-book they must be charged for the appointment they missed in order to make another booking.
“If you fail to attend your appointment without cancelling at least 24 hours in advance, you will be charged 25% of your appointment fee when you re-book with us.”
Again, this will act as a warning to your loyal clients to make them more cautious about cancellations. However, for those clients who are less loyal, they may simply choose to go somewhere else.
Be compassionate and flexible where relevant
As mentioned, we are all human. Sometimes, life gets in the way. We all have obstacles thrown our way which are simply unavoidable, so it is our duty to show compassion and understanding.
Whilst no-shows are frustrating, before you penalise a client for not attending an appointment, give them a chance to explain their circumstances.
Being flexible with your policies when required will help you build long-lasting relationships with your customers, and therefore help you retain long-term, loyal clients.
Ban no-shows where necessary
However, whilst it is always important to be compassionate, the line must be drawn at some point. Sometimes, taking a small loss is beneficial in the long term to gain loyal clients.
But if a client is blatantly undermining your kindness, there is always the option to permanently prohibit them from booking with you. Although the clients should come first, clients who do not respect your policies will likely cause an array of losses in the long term.
Manage Your Cancellations & No-Shows Effectively with Shortcuts Software
At Shortcuts, we understand that no-shows can cost you time, money and patience. We’ll help you eliminate last-minute and no-shows for good, whilst helping you manage client expectations.
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